Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson is the secondary protagonist of Orange is the New Black, serving as the main protagonist of Season Two, Five and Seven. She is portrayed by Danielle Brooks. Taystee is based off the character "Delicious" from Piper Kerman's Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
Taystee is a very funny, sometimes quirky person, who mainly stays within the group of black inmates (especially with Poussey). She claims to prefer life in "the system" (i.e., group homes, juvenile prison, and Litchfield Penitentiary) over "the outside". Despite the system trying repeatedly to paint her as a violent criminal (which she is not), Taystee is a highly intelligent and ambitious woman, who is a natural leader and usually tries to alleviate any conflict.
In season 7, a darker side of Taystee emerges when she becomes depressed. She is angrier and is willing to fight anyone. She contemplates suicide, even trying to hang herself, and buying a deadly dose of drug from Dayanara Diaz in exchange for a key to the contraband room. She also strikes revenge on Cindy Hayes when she is given early release by telling Monica Hayes the truth of her mother, although she is seen to be remorseful after. However, she is made hopeful by Tamika Ward when she receives from Suzanne Warren the real account of the events that led to her wrongful murder conviction; she also becomes inspired when her GED tutoring program proves successful, and when she and Judy King set up The Poussey Washington Fund together.
In her youth, Taystee would keep her hair in cornrows or have it straightened. Taystee is short with a full figure, and has black, shoulder-length coily hair. In Season One, she wears a lock of Piper's blonde hair. In the later seasons, Taystee put her hair into cornrows and a half-braided afro. After Poussey's death, Taystee appeared to look depressed and in grief. In Season 6, she took out her braided down crown and let her hair breathe by leaving it out in an afro. In Season 7’s finale, she decides to shave most of her hair off so it is now short.
For a list of episodes featuring Taystee's flashbacks, see here.
Taystee was born on August 9, 1992. She grew up in the foster care system, due to her birth parents being fifteen years old and unable to care for her. At adoption fairs, she would attempt to show off to couples looking to adopt in hopes of her being adopted. At one group home adoption fair, Taystee was discovered by Vee, who was revealed to be a drug dealer (although she calls herself a "businesswoman"). Initially, Taystee wanted nothing to do with dealing drugs ("Looks Blue, Tastes Red"). Taystee was a state ward until she was 16 and then went to juvenile prison. According to her, she's been in institutions her entire life ("Fucksgiving").
She grew up in group homes and occasionally ran into Vee on the streets.
Taystee was given the information of her birth mother, Mia by her group home owner. Mia and Taystee met up; when Mia told Taystee the reason for giving her up (being too young), she was interrupted by Mia's partner and daughter. Taystee realized that Mia hadn't told her family about her, but nevertheless was asked to come live with her. Taystee told her group home friends that she was leaving, but they didn't believe her until Mia drove up. Mia tearfully tells Taystee that it isn't a good time to live with her and her family. Taystee is furious and pulls Mia's hair. She storms off, distraught. ("Flaming Hot Cheetos, Literally")
Taystee tearfully appealed to Vee later that day. She wanted to be taken in by Vee to avoid going to another group home. Vee noticed Taystee's sharp math skills she acquired while working a fast food job. Vee decided to give her a chance to work as an "accountant" for her drug operation ("Looks Blue, Tastes Red").
Taystee then got a job at a fast-food restaurant called 'Storky's' where she worked with and befriended Tamika Ward. After finishing, Tamika and Taystee decide to smoke weed in the kitchen and have fun with their resources such as making huge burgers and eating them. After this, someone enters the restaurant; Taystee is surprised by this as she had thought Tamika had locked the door. Taystee mans the till and recognises an old school friend, Michael Spence, with whom she took Social Studies. It is then apparent that a robbery is about to happen when the robber asks Taystee calmly for the money in the till. Taystee manages to talk her way out of it, and saves her life by handing the robber her trainers. After the event, Tamika and Taystee leave the restuarant, and Taystee reveals that her trainers were fakes anyway. The two part ways and head home at 3:00 AM. ("Gordons")
Vee and Taystee, along with another adopted "son" RJ, became a tight-knit family unit. RJ later decided to go into business on his own and break away from Vee's business. This escalated to Vee ordering the murder of RJ through her crooked police officer friend ("It Was the Change").
Taystee was crushed that RJ had died. Vee lied to Taystee saying that RJ got himself killed by carrying a gun on him at night. Vee assured Taystee that she would not let this happen to any of her other "children" again ("Looks Blue, Tastes Red").
Taystee was eventually arrested and incarcerated at Litchfield, most likely for trafficking heroin for Vee's drug ring.
At Litchfield, she works in the library organizing and shelving books. She is well-read and likes watching the nature documentary Planet Earth. Taystee can also be aggressive, displayed when she gets in a fight with Flaca over ice cream.
Taystee's release date is soon approaching. Her best friends, Black Cindy and Poussey both help her with a mock parole-board interview. She also gets her hair done by Sophia in order to look more professional. She has doubts, but Miss Claudette among others cheer her up.
Taystee has her parole meeting, and she learns that she is getting out. When she is released, she stays at a house with someone she was in foster care with. Taystee quickly realizes she cannot adjust to the fast-paced real world and strict demands of her probation, which has her sleeping on the floor of her second cousin, who does not want her there.
Taystee is just passing a flickering light she hits to try and fix as she is getting home from her job at KFC. As she walks in she's informed by Laniece living in the home that they all had to be out of the lady renting the place would be evicted. Laniece asks Taystee if she has a place to go and tells her she has a cousin in East New York who would take them in, but they'd have to sell drugs to earn their keep. Taystee says she doesn't want to get picked up again. As Taystee contemplates her options the phone rings.
It's Poussey calling to check up on her. They joke that Taystee has a mansion with 27 rooms and that Poussey, Janae, Black Cindy and Suzanne can stay there. Poussey states that even Claudette can have a room. Taystee tells her things are going okay and she got a job offer, but tells her that she's also tired of struggling. She tells Poussey that she wishes she was back in prison because at least they'd be together. Poussey tries to comfort her by telling her she doesn't know the future and then tells her about how much it hurt when her mom passed. But that the sharp pain didn't last forever, it eventually was eventually dull. Because of all the good things in her life, to which she says she's talking about Taystee. They get off the phone and Taystee leaves the apartment, she decides to go with Laniece to her cousins, where she has to sell drugs to stay there.
Season One (Continued)
It is later revealed that Vee was nowhere to be found during Taystee's release. She violated her parole by selling drugs.
She arrives back and is reintroduced as Miss Claudette is taken to MAX, asking Piper what happened. Poussey is very angry at her for purposely violating her parole and scolds her.
She is seen singing in the Christmas Pageant with Black Cindy and Poussey, and supports Poussey as a backup singer when Poussey decides to do an unscripted solo ("Can't Fix Crazy").
Taystee wins the mock job fair, beating out Flaca in the final round. Fig informs Taystee that she did not win an actual job, but will instead have $10 added to her commissary. Taystee then sees Vee walk into the chapel after years of separation ("Looks Blue, Tastes Red").
After fooling around a bit on Poussey's bed, she suddenly gets kissed by her. She tells Poussey that she is sorry and explains that "they've already been through this." They just cuddle a little bit instead. Their relationship begins to decline after this, after Vee sees them.
After Vee's return to Litchfield, Taystee is fully captured in her daughter role. After Vee manipulates her to leave Poussey behind as her friend, she also uses her for her drug and cigarette dealing market. Taystee is made clear as being Vee's companion and a member of "the family", but after Poussey wrecks Vee's tobacco stash in a drunken rage, Vee ejects Taystee for not taking care of the threat that Poussey posed. Taystee realises she's been used and dropped by Vee, who was supposed to be her "mother". After dealing with her raw emotion, she begins warning the other girls of being endangered by her manipulations. It comes to the point where she openly stands up against her mother-figure, and, tired of Vee's psychopathic behavior, Watson and Cindy drop her too. Vee is the now one who is kicked out of the family, leaving her vulnerable and under suspicion by the feds for attacking Red. She escapes from Litchfield, only to be purposefully hit head-on at full speed by a van driven by Miss Rosa, who has also escaped ("We Have Manners. We're Polite.").
Taystee and Poussey are forced to calm Suzanne down every time someone brings up Vee's death. Eventually, Taystee confronts Suzanne personally about Suzanne not accepting Vee's death. When Taystee does this, she breaks down and cries as they both mourn the "loss" of Vee ("Finger in the Dyke").
After inmates outside of her black family begin to approach her with random problems, Taystee quickly realizes she has become the "mom" of her group. She is displeased with this newly found responsibility.
Poussey tells her that she has found Soso unconcious in the library. Taystee, despite having her favourite movie on, agrees.
She is reluctant to go to the lake, believing everyone will be sent to the SHU, however she is convinced to take part and has a waterfight with Janae and Suzanne
Taystee begins the season worrying about Suzanne being missing with Maureen while Janae and Soso argue. She scolds Suzanne but appreciates that she's back. She takes part in the test for Whispers but fails to be selected, much to her annoyance. She comforts Suzanne who is also dissapointed as Cindy and Janae tease them. Taystee is made Caputo's assistant due to budget cuts, this annoys Suzanne who thinks maintenance is the best job ("(Don't) Say Anything"). Caputo tells Piscatella that he chose her because "she's the only semi-intelligent inmate I'm only semi-attracted to". They get along well enough and she is shown to be fairly competent at her job. She guesses Caputo's laptop password when he is away in Baltimore. As she now has access to the internet, Taystee googles her fellow inmates and reads online magazines, then eventually figures out she could sell a photo of celebrity chef inmate Judy King to celebrity tabloids for money for commissary. Using a smuggled cellphone, the black girls attempt to get a good picture. When Judy finds out, she offers to help in a selfish move to get herself protection and subterfuge after a racist video of her in the 80s is leaked.
In "The Animals", Poussey Washington is accidentally killed by CO Baxter Bayley when guards violently try to stop a peaceful protest. Taystee rushes to her dead body and cries while lying beside her. In her grief, Taystee goes to her office desk to keep her mind busy. She tries to help Caputo find General Washington's contact details and tries to keep Caputo from blaming Poussey in the official press announcement, like the guards and MCC want him to. When the crisis management officials tell Caputo to lock the prisoners in their dorms, Taystee hides behind her desk so she can hear his press announcement. She is enraged when Caputo goes off script and not only defends Bayley but announces he will return to work and fails to mention Poussey's name at all. She sneaks out of the office and incites a full scale prison riot. She is last seen standing at the front of the black girls group as every racial group crowds the hallways around two COs and Dayanara Diaz, who holds a gun one of the COs dropped. She aims it at him and Taystee screams at her to shoot him ("Toast Can't Never Be Bread Again").
Taystee returns to Caputo's office and punches him in response to his defense of CO Bayley. She and the black women hold Caputo and MCC publicist Josh hostage as they figure out their next move. Caputo expresses remorse for how he handled his speech to the media but also explains he did not want two tragedies - Poussey's death and Bayley being jailed. Taystee is unsympathetic, and forces Caputo to make another speech while she records him on an iPad. Eventually, Taystee records the message herself and expects the video to go viral quickly. Unfortunately, it does not, though Cindy is made into a meme. Taystee becomes frustrated when the messages they send out do not generate buzz. Eventually, Taystee and the black women hand over Caputo and Josh to the Spanish women.
Taystee then bargains with the white supremacists for ownership of a hostage Judy King, who she wants to use to make a statement to press gathering outside the prison. Janae disagrees with using a white person to speak for black people but Taystee persists (using Josh to help form the statement). Judy begins reading the statement but Taystee realises Janae is right and reads the statement herself. She also sets Judy free at the end of her speech.
Taystee clashes with Suzanne and Soso's alternative methods of grieving, feeling that they are more concerned with making themselves feel better than memorializing Poussey. Soso decides to build a shrine made from books and Taystee respects the memorial.
When Natalie Figueroa is sent into the prison to negotiate, Taystee fights for the inmates demands to be met. She brings in Caputo to help plead their case, and becomes aware of the sexual relationship between the two. As negotiations continue, Cindy and Janae beg Taystee to help them with Suzanne, who is becoming more erratic without medication or a routine. Taystee refuses to help as she wants to focus on the demands. Cindy is forced to improvise and risks Suzanne's life by giving her lithium despite being uninformed about how to use it correctly which sends her into a deep slumber.
When Taystee is given the option to surrender if all demands except Bayley being charged are met, Taystee refuses. As she turns the offer down, Maria is setting the hostage COs free. Soon after, a SWAT team storms the prison and Taystee watches in horror as Janae and Alison are arrested. She manages to escape with Cindy and a drugged up Suzanne to Frieda's secret bunker. Suzanne is saved by an EpiPen injection. Taystee is extremely relieved. Taystee is enraged when she enters the main room of the bunker and sees Piscatella, currently held hostage by Red. She grabs a gun from Frieda and aims it at Piscatella, telling him he's the reason Poussey was killed. The other inmates beg her not to shoot and eventually Taystee breaks down in tears, exclaiming "I miss her so much". She joins Red, Piper, Alex, Nicky, Cindy, Suzanne, Gloria, Frieda and Blanca in their final stand-off. Her fate is left unknown.
Tasha has been moved to Litchfield Max following the events of Season 5. Unbeknownst to her, Taystee is sold out by Cindy who was brutally tricked by the system into telling on Taystee in order to get immunity. Frieda also blames the riot on Taystee so that she can get placed in Florida. Taystee is told by her public defender that she is being tried on two counts: for the riot and the murder of Piscatella. Taystee is adamant that she's innocent but her lawyer tells her that she is being scapegoated by the governor because they all just want this mess to go away.
Taystee asks CO Ward to get a message to Caputo. He goes to the visitor center and Taystee tells him that they're trying to make her the scapegoat. Caputo asks her what she wants him to do. She tells him that she's scared and that she needs his help because she doesn't have anybody else. Taystee is being escorted to the showers by Ward when she runs into Red. They both think that the other killed Piscatella. Red says that it doesn't matter because they want them to go down regardless of what they did or didn't do. Taystee calls Caputo and asks him if he kept his promise to see what he could do to help her. He tells her that he went to talk to the Senior Vice President of MCC but she said that it wasn't her department. Caputo tells Taystee that he tried but that he has no juice. She asks if that's all he's going to do and this upsets Caputo because he tried to help her during the riot but she locked him in a porter potty instead. He tells her that he's done and hangs up.
Taystee is in court with her lawyer. She pleads guilty for the riot and not guilty for murder. She is cheered on by the Black Lives Matter movement for this. Her case is sent to trial. While she's there, her lawyer receives a card from the ACLU and tells Taystee that they are putting a legal team together to help her. As she's escorted back to prison, the members of the court stand up and cheer for Taystee. From there she is taken to D-block where she is reunited with Cindy. Cindy asks her if she took a plea. Taystee tells her that she's going to trial because people have to know the truth. They hug.
Later, Taystee and Cindy read mail and lots of words are blacked out. Taystee remarks that Suzanne would be angry to see the weak rhymes in the poetry, but Cindy points out that the first letter of each line makes a vulgar sentence. Taystee tells Cindy to leave a note to Suzanne for her to come and see them on her show.
Later, Suzanne comes out to see them and Suzanne is acting different due to Cindy, but mainly Frieda who told her lots of stuff about the yard to try discourage her. She shouts at Taystee and leaves.
Ward delivers Taystee's mail and gives her a piece of paper that she saved from the trash. It turns out to be a request for an interview. Ward suggests that she do the interview if she wants people to know that she's innocent. Taystee decides to do the interview. Taystee is given advice by Sylvia Guillen, her new lawyer, who tells her to tell everything. She tells the reporter about the abuse within the prison and how the guards treat her because they think she is responsible for Piscatella's death. She begins crying during her interview. Afterwards, Taystee asks Ward if her interview was okay. Ward is upset with her because of what she said about the guards. Taystee tells her that she wasn't talking about her but the others. Ward says that she is part of them too. ("Gordons")
Taystee has a trial deposition. She worries about how her hair looks. Cindy asks why so soon and Taystee says that it's because Caputo agreed to be a character witness so they have to get his testimony before he moves. At the deposition, Caputo says only good things about Taystee. The prosecutor asks Caputo if there was ever a point during the riot where he feared for his life. He says never but she mentions when Taystee punched Caputo, as Josh has testified. Taystee has an outburst saying she barely hit him which Sylvia Guillen apologises for. He looks at Taystee regretfully as he says yes. Later, in the library, Taystee is collecting law books with Cindy so she can understand the lawyer vocabulary more. Cindy almost tells Taystee about how she accidentally sold her out but instead tells her about her daughter. ("Break the String")
Cindy is stretching in her cell when Taystee comes in. Taystee asks her if she wants to play a game, Cindy agrees and they begin playing a game where they have to guess rappers. However, Hellman arrives and forces Taystee out, giving them shots. Cindy begins crying as Taystee leaves.
Taystee goes to the salon to prepare for her trial. There she runs into Piper who asks her why people mess with her. Taystee tells her that it's because when they look at her they only see money, education, etc. Things that they never had. Taystee says that at least that's only happening in prison because people have been messing with Taystee her whole life. Piper asks how she deals with it. Taystee says that she just tries to survive.
Taystee is taken to the bus that will take her to court. When she climbs aboard she notices that Cindy is there too. She asks Cindy why she's coming along but being extremely hurt and uncomfortable by the fact that she has to testify against her bestfriend or else she goes down for it, Cindy doesn't respond. Cindy goes on to testify on the stand. She tells the jury that she saw Taystee pointing the gun at Piscatella. Caputo goes to visit Taystee in her cell. She asks him how she's supposed to get the jury to care when even her friends don't give a damn about her. He tells her that Cindy does care about her and that Cindy was tricked. He also says he and the Black Lives Matter Movement care about her too. He also tells her that what she says on the stand matters and that she needs to fight like hell. That the jury might surprise her but that can only happen if she hasn't given up. It's Taystee's turn to get up on the stand. Sylvia asks her questions about how her life was before prison and her childhood. Ward surprisingly shows up to support her. She tells the court that all she wanted was for the guy that murdered Poussey to be up here explaining why he killed an innocent person. ("Double Trouble")
Taystee watches as the prosecutor shows the court pictures of the scene of Piscatella's body. The medical examiner surprisingly states that it was a gunshot that killed Piscatella. Taystee is in a frenzy and Caputo tries to cheer her up. She tells him an anecdote of how her and her fellow fostercare children used to play a game called Guess That Shit. They thought they invented that game until they discovered that white people played it too and called it charades. Taystee returns to the courtroom, where Herrmann, Caputo, Tamika and Sylvia are also present. Sylvia asks her if she's okay. They give their closing statements. As the heartbeat descends, the court is outraged by their decision that Taystee is guilty. Tamika hits the chair infront of her in anger, and Taystee cries as she is handcuffed. She is taken back to Litchfield. ("Be Free")
Taystee begins to develop depression after her conviction and being charged with murder.
Taystee comes outside for the first time, scaring many inmates, even Suzanne, who is not yet made aware that Taystee's conviction was false. Taystee is approached by Badison who acts as if they are friends. This annoys Taystee who ignores her before being bumped into by Tali Grapes, Taystee looks frustrated and scares Tali, who asks for drugs as Taystee tells her goodluck with that. After, Taystee arrives at her cell to find Badison's (planted by Alex) phone ringing. She runs in and hides it before it alerts CO Alvarez. Taystee pretends to look shocked to him. She then summons Badison and tells her to hide her things better as Taystee saved her. Badison states the phone isn't her, but Taystee tells her that no one would want her ugly face as their lockscreen and also that a knife under her pillow isn't smart. Badison is annoyed that Taystee is looking through her things and so looks under Taystee's pillow to reveal that Taystee's appeal was denied and Badison mocks this. Taystee is infuriated and slams Badison into the locker before Hellman and Alvarez seperate them and send them both to the SHU, much to Badison's dismay. ("Beginning of the End")
Under an executive decision made by Tamika Ward, Taystee and others are released from the SHU as it has been closed down. Taystee is told by Pennsatucky that Suzanne needs to see her in the library. She agrees, and is taken to the library with Suzanne, and her former bestfriend, Cindy Hayes is also there. Suzanne tries to make them talk and forgive each other, but Taystee doesn't respond well. Cindy tries to explain herself but Taystee doesn't listen and she tries to leave before being blocked by Suzanne. She tells Suzanne that she'll punch her if she doesn't move. Pennsatucky interferes and tries to let Taystee walk free. Cindy tells Taystee if beating up her will help them mend, then to do it. Taystee pretends to punch Cindy, but doesn't as Cindy begins to cry. Taystee scoffs and leaves as Cindy squeals quietly 'Taystee...' ("And Brown Is the New Orange")
When Taystee arrives back to C-Block, she overhears a conversation between Badison and her girls, where they are talking about Alex. However, Taystee assumes this is about her and gets mad at Badison who soothes it over until Taystee walks away and Badison says to her friends that her and Taystee are tight, calling her "Taystee Girl" which infuriates Taystee. Taystee throws Badison of the table and beats her up once again. Ward sends people down to stop them and tries to stop Taystee before being punched by another inmate. She screams at the inmates as Hopper asks her what to do with them, mocking the closing down of the SHU. Ward decides to move Taystee back to D-Block, Cindy to B-Block and transfers Badison to Missouri. ("And Brown Is the New Orange")
Taystee arrives at the laundry room, to meet Dayanara Diaz. She asks to speak to Daya in private and she agrees, but Adeola watches in private as she is sceptical. Taystee asks for drugs and when Daya asks why Taystee doesn't say until Daya tells her that she won't sell otherwise. Taystee agrees and tells her her plans for suicide. Daya mentions a drug but says it will cost a lot of money. Taystee says she can't afford that, with Daya replying she will not get the drugs unless she gives valuable information or the money. ("How to Do Life")
[. . .]
Taystee tries to hang herself, but fails to do it, with her standing up again.
[. . .]
Taystee is made Tamika's assistant and immediately takes advantage of her power, looking at inmate files and discovering the location of keys. She discovers that Cindy has been given early release. This angers her. In the yard, Daya asks if Taystee wants her to be beaten up. Taystee states she has a better plan. Taystee is shown to have written a letter to Monica Hayes, telling her the truth about her mother. Taystee posts it but looks sceptical and guilty after.
[. . .]
Taystee gives Daya the key to the contraband room and is given drugs in exchange. For now, however, she has decided to stash them.
Taystee is made a GED tutor by Tamika after the teacher quit. She is reluctant to do so, but agrees. She is accidentally rude to Pennsatucky, making her feel stupid. She apologises and continues tutoring.
[. . .]
Taystee meets with her lawyer after she sent them the book made by Suzanne. Zirconia informs her along the way that it is GED test day. Sylvia states that it is compelling, but not enough, due to Suzanne's mental state. Taystee asks if they can get Cindy to recant, with Sylvia saying that Cindy is missing (she went homeless). Taystee is upset and tells her lawyer to leave. ("The Big House")
Taystee begins contemplating suicide again, staring at the picture on the wall where the drugs are stashed. She takes them as Ward arrives and asks about her lawyer. Taystee lies saying that it's moving ahead. Ward makes Taystee to go to the party for the classes, Taystee asks if they can get Storky's, (which she states she would want for her last meal). Taystee comes to the party just as the Storky's arrives. She asks around desperately for Suzanne, but she was blown off. Ward comes up to her and tells her she wishes she could stay. Taystee tells her that she appreciates her trying to make things better. Joe comes up to Taystee and apologizes for not being able to find help for the microloan idea. He tells her he might not see her for a while and as he leaves she tells him he's a good man. ("The Big House")
Taystee takes her Storky's, asking about Suzanne. She sits with Daya's crew and some of her mentorees. Daya and them leave with Daya remembering that Taystee wanted that for her last meal. Daya is unempathatic and says she won't see Taystee later. Doggett is very sad and Zirconia tells Taystee that she didn't get her extra time. Taystee states she can take it again. Taystee sees Suzanne and Lolly enter as she finishes her meal. She decides not to see her. Taystee walks down the hall, fidgeting with the drugs. As she passes the laundry room, Tali Grapes appears and tells her to leave before rushing off. Taystee enters the room and discovers Pennsatucky's dead body. She wails and screams for help much like she did when Poussey died. ("The Big House")
Ward arrives at Taystee's cell and comforts her. Taystee states she has seen to much dead bodies. They reminisce about their past, in the hood, where they saw dead bodies. Ward wonders if it was suicide with Taystee saying she doesn't know, but understands why. Taystee talks of her suicidal tendencies to Tamika, who comforts her saying tomorrow will be better. Taystee dismisses this. ("Here's Where We Get Off")
Taystee is in her cell, contemplating taking the drugs she got from Daya, when Dixon comes in the do a toss. He tells her it'll be light because he knows she's been having a rough time. Dixon confides in Taystee that Doggett was his friend, Taystee apologizes for his loss. Taystee asks Dixon if he'll take her to see Suzanne, seeing as she was Doggett's friend too and she wants to make sure she's okay. Dixon agrees and brings Taystee to the chicken coop. Suzanne is busy releasing the chickens from "chicken SHU", because Doggett thought it was cruel, when Taystee walks in. They have a heart to heart about losing people, in which Suzanne tells Taystee she isn't herself anymore to which Taystee agrees. Suzanne tells Taystee she is growing up and deciding to handle things differently. As they talk they release the chickens from the coop. Taystee tells Suzanne that she loves her and asks her to keep working on herself and that she is proud of her, (this was meant to be their last talk as Taystee planned on commiting suicide later).("Here's Where We Get Off")
Taystee goes back to her cell where is about to kill herself before noticing an envelope Tamika Ward has left to try cheer her up. It reveals all her classmates, including Pennsatucky, passed the GED test. Taystee laughs in happiness and she is inspired to keep living. Taystee shows up at Daya's cell as Daya and her friends freak out that they have no drugs. Daya appears to be strangely annoyed that Taystee hasn't killed herself. Taystee states that she isn't planning to and notices the desperation of drugs. Taystee states she'll trade the drugs for the contraband key. Daya tries to grab her with Taystee punching her in retalitation. She states that she won't fight Daya and Daya agrees to give it back. Taystee pulls out the drugs which shocks Adeola as she didn't guess they'd be hidden in plain sight. ("Here's Where We Get Off")
Taystee returns the key to Tamika's office when Tamika comes in and tells her she got fired. Taystee asks her for one last favour, adding Judy King to her call list, the number she got from Poussey. Taystee calls Judy to ask for some assistance starting up The Poussey Washington Fund that would give microloans to prisoners after they've been released. Judy seems interested (as she was friends with Poussey) and asks Taystee how it would work. Taystee explains and talks about managing finances and Judy reminds her that she was in prison for tax evasion. They then start talking about Judy's new book and how the inmates are loving it. Judy is made happy by this. ("Here's Where We Get Off")
Taystee has cut her hair much, much shorter. She and Suzanne are in with the all the soon-to-be released inmates talking about how they are going to be the first inmates to get the microloans from the Poussey Washington Fund. They cheer as her and Suzanne look happy. Taystee announces they will be taught how to manage their finances properly in order to get out of prison and not come back. ("Here's Where We Get Off")
- Poussey Washington (best friend; deceased) - Whilst spooning each other, Poussey kissed Taystee. Apparently, she expressed feelings for Taystee in the past, because Taystee told Poussey that "We've been through this before." Taystee didn't have the same romantic feelings and only wanted to remain best friends.
- Mia Jefferson (biological mother; distanced)
- Vee (mother; deceased)
- RJ (brother; deceased)
- Timaya (half-sister)
- Tamika Ward - Tamika shows empathy to Taystee and even after Taystee hurts her feelings, she still goes to the bother of taking a personal day off to attend Taystee's trial.
- Poussey Washington (best friend; deceased) - Taystee and Poussey are shown to be close friends throughout their time together in Litchfield. Taystee rejects Poussey romantically, informing her she is not a lesbian and doesn't share the same feelings. After Vee's death, they remained best friends until Poussey's death which affected her severely. (See: Poussey and Taystee)
- Cindy Hayes (former bestfriend) - Taystee and Cindy were like sisters. They bickered and argued sometimes, but they got along very well. Taystee is more mature and often would tell Cindy if what she said or done was bad. Cindy would usually take Taystee's advice and follow her lead and Taystee would often listen to Cindy, showing their mutual respect. However, sometimes they'd clash as Cindy's care-free attitude was in opposition to Taystee's ambition. Cindy grew a lot and is less care free, going from being extremely selfish and only looking out for herself, to caring about her friends, but of course caring about herself slightly more. This in turn led her to be forced to betray Taystee as her fear of the system and worries for her daughter arose. She soon regretted her actions and was extremely guilty, and eventually had 'empathy pains' She attempts to redo her statement, but this would be useless to both her and Taystee, as said by her lawyer. Taystee is infuriated and distraught by her betrayal, losing her last best friend. (See: Black Cindy and Taystee)
- Janae Watson - When Janae first arrives, she meets Poussey and Taystee in the cafeteria. The two talk about Miss Claudette, and Piper butts in on the conversation and receives confused looks from the girls. Watson, Taystee and Cindy are usually inseparable, always eating together and spending most of their time together.
- Suzanne Warren (prison daughter) - When Vee first arrives, she empowers Suzanne to stop grovelling for white women's approval and start associating with other black women instead. Taystee is able to communicate with Suzanne more effectively than the others and helps her through her mental illness, and takes on a motherly role when it comes to her. Suzanne often eats with the other black girls. Similar to Vee, when Suzanne once again allows a white woman to walk all over her, Taystee encourages Suzanne to stay away from her and not buy into her emotional manipulation. During the riot, Taystee does neglect Suzanne a bit due to being busy with the negotiations, leading to Suzanne nearly dying from taking lithium. The two are seperated from each other causing their relationship to be fractured, but when Taystee speaks to Suzanne at the end, she is proud to see that Suzanne has matured significantly. (See: Taystee and Suzanne)
- Brook Soso - Taystee accepts Soso into the black girls group as it means she will be able to repair her friendship with Poussey, who wants to date Soso. Their relationship is strained after Poussey's death in season four, because Brook and Taystee have vastly different ways of grieving. When Brook makes a memorial for Poussey, they bury the hatchet and hug.
- Alison Abdullah - When Abdullah comes to Litchfield in Season Four, Taystee and the other black girls take to her, apart from Cindy who constantly wars with her. Eventually, Cindy and Alison draw a truce, and the latter becomes part of the group.
- Kasey Sankey (riot participant, questionable) - Kasey and Taystee allied to defeat Piscatella along with the other inmates, but Kasey is extremely racist. However, Kasey's attitude seems to soften as she develops a grudging respect for Taystee.
- Joe Caputo (boss) - In Season Four, Caputo hires Taystee as his receptionist. They get along fairly well and Caputo secretly tells Piscatella he is "semi-attracted" to Taystee. During Caputo's press announcement regarding Poussey's death, Taystee hides behind her desk in order to hear the speech as it happens. She is enraged when Caputo alludes to Poussey being responsible for her killing and does not state Poussey's name at all. She sneaks out of the office and incites a riot involving every inmate at Litchfield.
- Piper Chapman - Piper offers Taystee a small strand of her hair in season one for a trade deal for Sophia. After that, Taystee and Piper became good friends.
- Maria Ruiz
- Nicky Nichols
- Frieda Berlin
- Blanca Flores
- Alex Vause
- Gloria Mendoza
- Dayanara Diaz - They did some business together in Season Seven
- Lee Dixon - CO Dixon comforts her as they both grieve the loss of Tiffany Doggett.
- Vee (adoptive mother; deceased) – Taystee and Vee had a very complicated relationship. Vee was one of the only people to give Taystee a true family and take her in as her own. However, after Taystee was released from Litchfield, Vee was nowhere to be found. Upon the two both returning to prison, the relationship became that much more complicated. Taystee ultimately turned away from Vee after the latter became violent towards Poussey and broke apart their prison family. Taystee broke down in tears after hearing of Vee's passing, revealing how much Vee truly meant to her.
- Cindy Hayes (former bestfriend) - Cindy lied on the stand in Taystee's trial in order to protect herself ultimately incriminating Taystee and Taystee is mad at Cindy.
- The veteran COs - They treat all the prisoners with disrespect, but Dixon in particular targets Taystee by smashing the watch Caputo gave Taystee, purely to hurt her. When Daya aims a gun at Thomas Humphrey, Taystee encourages her to shoot him.
- Baxter Bayley - During the protest in the cafeteria, Taystee's best friend Poussey was accidentally suffocated by Bayley while trying to restrain both her, and Suzanne during one of her tantrums after Piscatella ordered guards to remove all inmates from on top of tables.
- Natalie Figueroa
- Lee Dixon (former) - Dixon broke her watch when she was worrying where Suzanne was, angering her. They made up in Season Seven.
- Desi Piscatella - She was falsely convicted of murdering him. She also blames him for the death of Poussey.
- Madison Murphy - They brawled in Season 7 resulting in Badison being transferred to Missouri.
The character of "Taystee" is based on a real life prison inmate from the novel and memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison which the television series is loosely based on, who is named "Delicious". Delicious is described as being African-American and frequently likes to sing. The character of Taystee is one of only a handful of characters from the TV series to be loosely based on a real-life person.
- "Tomorrows beef and noodles!"
- — Tasha Jefferson, responding to Nicky’s claim it was taco night
- "That's bullshit, shit to the bull."
- — Tasha Jefferson
- "So I'm sitting there, barbecue sauce on my titties, and I'm like 'What the fuck? Again?"
- — Tasha Jefferson
- "Learned? I ain't learned nothing. I came in this motherfucker innocent, and I'm still innocent."
- — Tasha Jefferson
- "Got that new 'do, boo!"
- — Tasha Jefferson
- "Everyone I know is poor, in jail or gone."
- — Tasha Jefferson
- "The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean place."
- — Tasha Jefferson
- "This ain't The fucking Help, bitch! But you will eat my shit!"
- — Tasha Jefferson
- "Them cracker meth-head bitches won't let us change the channel! And it's our turn! I can't watch no more Toddlers and Tiaras."
- — Tasha Jefferson
- "Fucking J.K. Rowling! Some punk-ass publisher read Harry fucking Potter and was like "nope!"."
- — Tasha Jefferson
- "They didn't even say her name!"
- — Taystee outraged over Caputo's report on Poussey's death.
- "A bunch of bitches going to Seg."
- — Taystee to Poussey in the Season Three finalé when they see the inmates running towards the lake.
- "They call me Taystee 'cause my pussy me delicious, like an apple, it's nutritious, like a Clinton, it's ambitious. You wanna mess with all that, bitch please, you's a gnat, you go splat, best be runnin' stat!"
- — Taystee's rap to Leanne Taylor.
- " I think regrets are for people another choice, regrets are a privilege for people that have free will. Regrets aren't for people are stuck in hell trying to survive, years and years of abuse from guards, and a prison system that looks the other way. So no, I don't have any regrets."
- — Taystee to a reporter
- " We are locked in cages, but they are the animals."
- — Taystee to a reporter
- Her favourite nut is a cashew ("Gordons")
- Taystee had the last 'flashback' episode in the entire series ("The Big House").
- It is implied that Taystee is asexual but heteroromantic as she never demonstrated any sexuality interest in anyone at all.
|Orange Is the New Black: Season One|
|"I Wasn't Ready":||"Tit Punch":||"Lesbian Request Denied":||"Imaginary Enemies":||"The Chickening":||"WAC Pack":||"Blood Donut":|
|"Moscow Mule":||"Fucksgiving":||"Bora Bora Bora":||"Tall Men with Feelings":||"Fool Me Once":||"Can't Fix Crazy":|
|Orange Is the New Black: Season Two|
|"Thirsty Bird":||"Looks Blue, Tastes Red":||"Hugs Can Be Deceiving":||"A Whole Other Hole":||"Low Self Esteem City":||"You Also Have a Pizza":||"Comic Sans":|
|"Appropriately Sized Pots":||"40 Oz. of Furlough":||"Little Mustachioed Shit":||"Take a Break From Your Values":||"It Was the Change":||"We Have Manners. We're Polite.":|
|Orange Is the New Black: Season Three|
|"Mother's Day":||"Bed Bugs and Beyond":||"Empathy Is a Boner Killer":||"Finger in the Dyke":||"Fake It Till You Fake It Some More":||"Ching Chong Chang":||"Tongue-Tied":|
|"Fear, and Other Smells":||"Where My Dreidel At":||"A Tittin' and a Hairin'":||"We Can Be Heroes":||"Don't Make Me Come Back There":||"Trust No Bitch":|
|Orange Is the New Black: Season Four|
|"Work That Body for Me":||"Power Suit":||"(Don't) Say Anything":||"Doctor Psycho":||"We'll Always Have Baltimore":||"Piece of Shit":||"It Sounded Nicer in My Head":|
|"Friends in Low Places":||"Turn Table Turn":||"Bunny, Skull, Bunny, Skull":||"People Persons":||"The Animals":||"Toast Can't Never Be Bread Again":|
|Orange Is the New Black: Season Five|
|"Riot FOMO":||"Fuck, Marry, Frieda":||"Pissters!":||"Litchfield's Got Talent":||"Sing It, White Effie":||"Flaming Hot Cheetos, Literally":||"Full Bush, Half Snickers":|
|"Tied to the Tracks":||"The Tightening":||"The Reverse Midas Touch":||"Breaking the Fiberboard Ceiling":||"Tattoo You":||"Storm-y Weather":|
|Orange Is the New Black: Season Six|
|"Who Knows Better Than I":||"Shitstorm Coming":||"Look Out for Number One":||"I'm the Talking Ass":||"Mischief Mischief":||"State of the Uterus":||"Changing Winds":|
|"Gordons":||"Break the String":||"Chocolate Chip Nookie":||"Well This Took a Dark Turn":||"Double Trouble":||"Be Free":|
|Orange Is the New Black: Season Seven|
|"Beginning of the End":||"Just Desserts":||"And Brown Is the New Orange":||"How to Do Life":||"Minority Deport":||"Trapped in an Elevator":||"Me as Well":|
|"Baker's Dozen":||"The Hidey Hole":||"The Thirteenth":||"God Bless America":||"The Big House":||"Here's Where We Get Off":|